One question had early on was how our Barnhill family came to settle in Louisiana?This is when first heard the story of horse stealing in Tennessee and why William Hodge Barnhill and family left in a hurry for Louisiana.Of course was intrigued and set about trying to see if there was any chance of proving this story?Think mentioned previously that the McNairy County Court House burned in 1881 along with most of their records so an apparent dead end there.
The next question had was why William Hodge Barnhill's father, William Barnhill Jr. and Cynthia Hodge Barnhill and most of William's sibling settled in Texas not Louisiana?According to my father the reason was because William Jr. and Cynthia Hodge Barnhill were following Cynthia's brother, Alexander Hodge and sister, Nancy Hodge Allcorn to Texas which made sense.
Still doesn't explain why William Hodge Barnhill choose Louisiana instead of Texas?My thought has always been that he was doing well in Tennesse so why move to such a dangerous and unsettled place as Texas.But, around 1850 some event must have happened to change all that and maybe there is some truth to the story of horse stealing?
According to my father a couple of the "younger boys" of William Hodge Barnhill got in some trouble with the law for horse stealing, but based on his sons ages in 1850 is not a possiblity.William H did have two older sons, one of which was George Barnhill 1831-1851 who curiously enough is found on the 21 Sep 1850 McNairy County Census living with his parents and also the 13 Nov 1850 Natchitoches Parish Census living with Charles L Crump and his sister, Cynthia Barnhill Crump?
Now, don't know how long it took to travel from McNairy County to Natchitoches Parish by horse but had always assumed that George Barnhill had made the trip with Charles L and Cynthia Barnhill Crump but have recently decided that was not the case.First of all Charles L and Cynthia Barnhill Crump were not living in McNairy County, Tennessee as had previously assumed after the 1830 Census. Based on where their children were born from 1833-1839 and a 1840 Census for St. Clair County, Alabama they were in Alabama during that time period.
The question is how did George Barnhill end up living with Charles L and Cynthia Barnhill Crump by Sep 1850 in Natchitoches Parish?Another interesting tidbit is that one of Charles and Cynthia's children was born in Texas about 1844, so did they live there for a time or just visit family across the Sabine River while still living in Natchitoches Parish?Too, their next child was born in 1847 in Louisiana so that gives you a nice timeline of events since this was between census years.Back to the subject of George Barnhill.Since Charles L and Cynthia Barnhill Crump migrated from St. Clair County, Alabama in 1820 to McNairy County, Tennessee in 1830 and back again to Alabama by 1840.Then from Alabama to Texas in 1844 to Louisiana in 1847 how did George end up in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana by Nov 1850?
William Hodge Barnhill is still living in McNairy County, Tennessee 21 Sep 1850 and then he suddenly sells all his property and is found in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana where he claims a land patent 1 Oct 1852...why?By 1852 William Hodge Barnhill's parents, most of his siblings and including his son George who died shortly after the 1850 census, had all passed away although he did have extended family in Texas and could visit them across the Sabine River.Might be one possible reason but it is also possible that William Hodge Barnhill was willing to give up the comforts of Tennessee to be with his son George in Louisiana.
Still don't know to date when all of William Hodge Barnhill's siblings entered Texas and may never know, but those Barnhills sure did a lot of traveling...smiling.